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New Apprentices Join Award Winning Conservation Centre Team (6th October 2011)

The Michael Beetham Conservation Centre (MBCC) at Royal Air Force Museum Cosford is delighted to welcome the arrival of two new apprentices, who will join the growing conservation team and award winning Apprenticeship Programme.

The new appointments are part of the Museum’s Apprentice Scheme now in its sixth successful year, which, for the second year in a row was awarded the West Midlands Regional Winner of the ‘Small Employer of the Year Award’, at The National Apprenticeship Awards 2011. 

Ella Middleton aged 18 from Walsall and Bethany Colburn aged 17 from Gosport in Hampshire recently joined the team of seven Advanced Apprentices at the Museum.

MBCC Training Manager, Mick Shepherd says:

“The Royal Air Force Museum Apprentices undertake all their hands-on heritage skills training in-house at the Museum’s Conservation Centre, where they each work side by side with a Master Craftsman who mentors them through their daily tasks.  Many of our aircraft are “sole survivors” and supporting documentation and procedures don’t exist; our apprentices are encouraged to use their own initiative to develop, in consultation with their mentor, novel ways around complex and unusual engineering issues. This has proved to make them extremely capable, competent and self-confident individuals.  Once deemed competent they are each given a specialist project. Like those before them Bethany and Ella will work on a wide variety of aircraft including the long term restoration and conservation of the Museum’s Vickers Wellington and Handley Page Hampden Bombers.

In each of the six years our apprentice programme has been running we have adjusted what we do to ensure our youngsters get the very best practical training and the associated support they need to give them the best possible start in their chosen careers.  This year our two new Advanced Apprentices will attend Wolverhampton College where they will receive training in Welding and Fabrication before moving on to a BTEC Extended Diploma in Engineering Manufacture as well as an associated level 3 Vocational Qualification in Aeronautical Engineering”

The Museum is committed to preserving Aviation Heritage through its conservation of aircraft and associated exhibits, whilst recognising the need to ensure that unique skills are retained, nurtured and developed amongst the younger generation in respect of fostering ongoing aircraft conservation efforts for the foreseeable future. 

Aviation fans will be able to gain behind-the-scenes access to aircraft conservation work when the Conservation Centre opens to the public from 14-19 November 2011.  Visitors will have a rare opportunity to view current projects including the Wellington and the Hampden and the chance to speak with the skilled Technicians and Apprentices about their work.  Open from 10.15am – 1.00pm and admission is FREE.  For more information on the Conservation Centre Open Week visit www.rafmuseum.org.